The Peak Sunset

So it’s my last day in Hong Kong.

We didn’t in the end get to see the Buddha, we were both completely wiped out on Tuesday opting instead to flump around the hotel and small beach. Resolving with some determination to make the most of yesterday.

Having gorged ourselves in the breakfast buffet we rolled onto the bus into Kowloon then got the Star Ferry across to Hong Kong Island. The first part of the day consisted of the inevitable rush of shopping before a brief rest-bite in a coffee shop, I also wrote the first two thirds of a short story in my notebook – G was in another shop at that point.

Then we began our ascent. The Peak is the highest point on Hong Kong island and we’d been assured by many people that this was a must have experience, offering breathtaking views of the whole of Hong Kong. We decided to time it for sunset and so in the late afternoon we made our way up the winding walk from Connaught Road past St John’s Cathedral to the Peak Tram.

The tram is off the main road and reached via a private station that has a small number of historically interesting artifacts from the tram’s history including authentic period costumes.

A glitzy video runs on a loop in the waiting room showing the ever insane Jackie Chan travelling up to the Peak complex (called the Sky Tower). He doesn’t travel inside the tram but on the roof, just how mad this is will become apparent shortly. There is also footage of the Mad One swinging from a rope off the edge of the Sky Tower viewing platform, central Hong Kong spread out like a neon circuit board beneath him.

I think he may have fallen on his head one too many times.

The tram journey was incredible. This rickety old wooden tram pulls its way up a slope that is at an angle approaching forty five degrees leaving you with the same sense of impending doom as a rollercoaster’s initial climb. The high rises of the mid levels reach up from the slope at the correct vertical angle but because of the tilt of the tram they look like they are shooting out at diagonals.

Once you clear the mid levels the whole of central Hong Kong and Victoria Harbour spring into view, neck strain is pretty much inevitable as you crane round to look at the amazing view trying not to notice the intense pressure of gravity pushing you back in your seat.

The tram rolls into the Sky Tower in about ten minutes, it really is quite quick and then you find youself doing a slight double take at how modern the complex is by comparison to the tram. Like many things in Hong Kong it is a fusion of new and old, east and west.

A series of escalators lets you onto the top of the Sky Tower, a wide viewing platform with panoramas of the surrounding landscape including Hong Kong, Kowloon, Victoria Harbour and Aberdeen. We arrived just at sunset: breathtaking doesn’t cover it. It made my holiday. The picture at the top of this post, taken on my camera phone, doesn’t really do it justice but hopefully it gives you an idea what it was like. In the last moments the sun disappears into the hazy mist lining the horizon as if the ocean was swallowing the lozenge like star.

As night fell the view changed. The city that during daytime hours can resemble a series of blocks arranged and painted to look like a child’s toy set changes, the concrete fades along with the grey, all becomes glass and light. It looks a little like this:

Hong Kong Night

Then we ate many, many noodles and drank green tea before sloshing back to the bottom. It was great.

Now I’m going to paddle with sharks before we have to go back to the airport.